Railroads of Montana
and the Pacific Northwest
Photography by Dale Jones

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Soo Line - 1916 Snowplow
Historic Soo Line Photos

Spokane International Railway

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Soo Line in Montana - 1916 Dooley Snowplow

More Miscellaneous Historic Soo Line Photos

In February 1916, a massive blizzard attacked the Northern Plains of North Dakota and Montana.
The Soo Line brought in a rotary snowplow to clear the tracks.
The snowplow used was not the "regular" type of rotary snowplow with blades like a
huge circular cooling fan. It was a snowplow based on a "corkscrew" design - The Jull snowplow

 Just a brief history of the rotary snowplow. The first successful rotary plow was designed by a Canadian inventor named Orange Jull.  He had it built by the Leslie Brothers, owners of a machine shop, and tested it in the winter of 1883-84.  The Leslies' soon purchased the manufacturing rights to the plow and went into business building "Leslie type" rotaries.  This is the type of plow most people think of when you say "rotary." It has one large circular plow blade rotating on a shaft parallel to the tracks. Mr. Jull designed another plow to complete with the Leslie plows -the Jull Centrifugal Snow Excavator. Between 1890 and 1892 11 Jull type plows were built.  As seen in the above detail photograph - these plows had a large spiral screw placed diagonally across the front of the plow to clear the snow.  They were not as good in deep or heavy snow as the Leslies, and never really caught on, eventually all 11 were scrapped. The Soo Line plow used near Dooley, Montana in February 1916 was #X-17. A photographer was present to record the effects of the blizzard, but no doubt the use of the odd "Jull." There appears to be dozens of postcards
circulating printed from this event. Below is a sampling of views the
Jull Centrifugal Snow Excavator Rotary Snowplow at work in the Montana prairie.

 


More Miscellaneous Historic Soo Line Photos
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If you are interested in Montana railroad history
Click HERE to order book The Great Northern Railway in Marias Pass
and The Milwaukee Road Connection from Spokane to Butte

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